John Cameron's personal blog

Serious discussion about your financial position now - and in the future.

Black Swan Events and Portfolios

The term “Black Swan Events” has a particular meaning in investment circles.

The term refers to events that are unexpected and unforeseen. They can be either negative or positive, but such is human nature that the main focus is on negative events and their consequences. One recent Black Swan Event was the GFC in 2007 – 08. The GFC damaged a lot of people, and the overhang is still with us.

Generally, the term is used in financial markets, but then again, it can just as much be personal, and close to home – a sudden family illness, a major accident, or finding your home is riddled with white-ants and in need of major repairs. All of these could be very costly.

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Retirement Income - Where is it?

Recent reports in The West Australian have shown people nearing retirement are confused, with many planning to keep working beyond the “normal” retirement age of 65.

The state of confusion is hardly surprising, given the unique financial times we are in, and the mixed and often contradictory signals that emanate from various sources (who often are pushing their own barrow.)

Talking about mixed signals, let’s start with the stockmarket. Every night, commentators fill our television screens, with graphic accounts of how much the market has gone up, or down during that day. Even if nothing has happened, they still go to great lengths to make it graphic. But, then I guess that is the nature of television. A factual statement such as “nothing much happened on the market today”, - next story please -  would hardly have viewers glued to their sets. After all, there are ratings to think about, aren’t there!

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Redundancy – Beware An Unwanted 65th Birthday Present – More Tax!

Redundancy payments are in the air again, with the WA Government announcing plans to cut the number of public servants.

However, there is a nasty little surprise lurking in the tax laws for people over age 65. The tax treatment is very different either side of 65.

Just to be clear, what we are talking about are specific REDUNDANCY PAYMENTS. These are separate from superannuation and a range of other exit payments. Broadly speaking, a redundancy payment is a specific extra payment that is made when an employees’ job has been abolished, and the person is no longer required. Redundancies can be either voluntary, or not.

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Securing Your Future - Where To Look For Income In Times Of Low Interest

The following article "Where To Look For Income In Times Of Low Interest" was written by John Cameron and appeared on pg 2 of The West Australian - Financial Planning Supplement - 21st August 2017.

The figures quoted are taken from special research into retirement incomes, undertaken by Delta Research and Advisory at John Cameron's behest.

More will follow over coming weeks.

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The Culture Wars Continue

Once again, the Commonwealth Bank is in the firing line. This time it is under a cloud for, allegedly, not meeting its obligations to report suspicious financial transactions – and the press is having a field day.

Foremost among their comments/analysis/hysterics (pick your own descriptor) is the conclusion that the CBA has a poor culture, and they need a better one. Well, call me pedantic, but I think that qualifies as nothing more than a giant SBO (Statement of the Bleeding Obvious), and a solution needs more than endless SBO’s, but some deeper analysis.

Firstly, what is culture? In this context it should refer to the values that drive expected norms of behaviour – that is, how are people expected to behave, as dictated by beliefs and values of the workforce. If somebody does the wrong thing, they will be pulled up by their peers, not just by the managers. It cannot be captured in policy procedures, memoranda, protocols etc.

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